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Why Snowden Picked Ecuador

The NSA leaker knows that President Rafael Correa wants to be the next Hugo Chávez.

by
Jaime Daremblum

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June 26, 2013 - 12:42 am
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Edward Snowden says that he leaked classified information about National Security Agency surveillance programs because he believes those programs represent a major threat to civil liberties. Ironically, Snowden has now requested asylum in a country — Ecuador — where civil liberties are routinely trampled by an elected autocracy.

As of this writing, he is apparently still in Moscow, awaiting a formal response from the Ecuadorean government. If Quito approves his asylum request and Snowden successfully makes it to Ecuadorean territory, he will be the second high-profile leaker to take refuge there over the past year. The first, of course, was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who entered Ecuador’s London embassy last June and officially received asylum in August.

Why did Snowden pick Ecuador? Like Assange, he recognizes that President Rafael Correa is an anti-American leftist who has repeatedly clashed with Washington and has eagerly embraced U.S. adversaries. Indeed, Correa is a Hugo Chávez acolyte who reportedly received money from Colombian FARC terrorists during his 2006 presidential campaign; who in 2009 expelled a U.S. embassy official named Armando Astorga and forced the U.S. military to leave Manta air base (which had been used for anti-drug operations); who in 2011 expelled U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges; who in 2012 withdrew Ecuadorean troops from the U.S.-based Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and also threatened to expel USAID from Ecuador; and who boycotted the 2012 Summit of the Americas to protest the exclusion of Cuba. His government has also strengthened ties with Iran, and there is compelling evidence that the Iranians have used their close relationship with Ecuador to evade international sanctions and access the global financial system. Ecuadorean foreign minister Ricardo Patiño has called Iran a “strategic partner,” and Correa has defended the Iranian nuclear program.

As Ramiro Crespo of Quito-based Analytica Investments tells the Washington Post, “Ecuador is looking to be an antagonist of the United States and looking for causes that will permit it to do that.” That’s why it granted asylum to Julian Assange, and that’s why it may soon grant asylum to Edward Snowden. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Patiño condemned U.S. officials for their efforts to apprehend the NSA leaker. “The one who is denounced pursues the denouncer,” he said, according to the New York Times. “The man who tries to provide light and transparency to issues that affect everyone is pursued by those who should be giving explanations about the denunciations that have been presented.” For his part, President Correa tweeted that “we will analyze the Snowden case very responsibly and we will make with absolute sovereignty the decision that we believe is most appropriate.”

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Top Rated Comments   
It's not like Snowden has a real choice of where to go. This is a major problem for every western dissident. If you oppose russian or chinese goverment, you can flee to USA, but if you oppose US goverment, there is simply no country which is better in terms of freedom. Snowden used the "enemy of my enemy" kind of approach, and while he may genuinely believe in civil liberties, this won't do him any good. Stuck in Moscow airport? It's probably because russains in a process of chaffering over the price for his head with NSA.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
We have no idea as to Snowden's true motives. But we do know that Obama Inc. - and this is the crux - is a mirror image of radical revolutionary regimes! Therefore, while it appears to be strange that he may very well end up in a socialist "paradise", the fact of the matter is that the Radical-in-Chief and surrogates are of like mind - http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/05/if-it-looks-like-a-socialistmarxistcommunist-plan-it-is-peekingpeeling-back-into-obamas-looking-glass-his-surrogates-too-their-bomblets-waiting-to-explode-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

To wit, their orders to NSA for TOTAL domestic spying, in tandem with all the swirling scandals, points in one direction - the reshaping/transforming of America into a totalitarian state. Pot and kettle...as Obama Inc feigns distress at Snowden's "treason".

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (20)
All Comments   (20)
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I think that it is pretty clear that Snowdon is an American idealist who voted for Obama and was disappointed by all the surveillance he saw and decided he had to do something about it. Very naive guy. But I don't think he has any idea of the international left that Mr. Daremblum outlines so well here. The problem that Mr. Snowdon is discovering is that this anti American demimonde is the only place he can possibly take refuge. As an older expatriate American I would say his tender ideals are in for a severe battering.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The NSA leaker knows that President Rafael Correa wants to be the next Hugo Chávez."


Dead? I think something like that could be arranged.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because espionage and terrorism are murky worlds, all we know comes from movies and action novels. The national security side has yet to explain why they need all this data, maybe because it is a secret. Maye because they use it to look up who is Kanye West is zooming on the side. The privacy dorks have yet to explain why it is OK for Verizon to have this data, but not the NSA. This is a brave new world for he pundit class, and they have yet to say anything interesting.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
So… it’s the “privacy dorks” versus the …? Security at any cost jerks?
Verizon does not have the information that the NSA does. Verizon cannot put you in jail. Verizon cannot declare you an enemy of the state, and Verizon cannot legally disappear you. All the government - any of its agencies, NSA, FBI, DEA, BATF, IRS, USMO, Treasury, SS, etc. needs to access any of Verizon’s data is a subpoena.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sometimes the dorks are right. Sometimes they are paranoid. Sometimes they are drama queens who need to feel important. On this one I just don't know. Google sells my search info and I keep getting popups trying to sell me german cutlery and black dildos made by a guy named Schlomo in Brooklyn. It seems that the NSA could form a fake company and buy this data on the open market. Too much smoke and mirrors in this brave new world.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Simple question time...What Do You Want To Do?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
As somebody who is usually pretty opinionated, on this one I got no freakin' clue.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
We have no leverage over Correa. If he does not sell his oil to the US, he will sell it to someone else. A banana boycott will only hurt the US corporation that grows the bananas.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sovereign countries can do as they please. If Snowden refuses to face the court we should declare him an outlaw -- that is, outside the protection of the U.S. government, and that as far as we are concerned anyone may freely kill him. Then, if a CIA agent kills him as a warning to others, it will be up to Ecuador to punish that agent if they wish -- if they can catch him.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why doesn't a single new report say who Snowden worked for? They just say it was a "contractor". Contractors are responsible for safe-guarding the Top Secret information they process. Many of their employees are very careless and this is not reported to the Security group that oversees the Contractor. The reason that security violations are not reported is that it can become a black mark on the Contractors record. Further contracts may not be forthcoming.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I spent a summer in Quito. Snowden won't be safe there from either side. He's a fool.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been to Ecuador only once, eight years ago, which was just before the Correa regime started. Quito was already a slightly dangerous place, with a very picturesque centre; Guayaquil was reckoned to be, back then, much less safe than Guatemala City. I don't think the country as a whole was dangerous, back then. I walked the length and breadth of Otavalo, for instance, and found it a really friendly place.

It is the world capital of ornithology. Well, the Peruvians may argue about that, but Jaime Daremblum's own lovely country boasts about seven hundred and fifty bird species, as against Ecuador's eight thousand (that's far more than China, India, Brazil, the US, or the whole of Europe). This is actually an important source of revenue for Ecuador, with Americans and Canadians the biggest contributors.

If Quito deters the wealthy tourists, where does Correa think the money will be coming from? Ecuador has oil, but much less than Mexico (or the Falkland Islands, come to that). It produces bananas, but so does every country in the northern part of South America, or in Central America.

If Correa's relying on subventions from Tehran, he is going to find out, rather soon, that the Iranian economy is a train-wreck, too.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not like Snowden has a real choice of where to go. This is a major problem for every western dissident. If you oppose russian or chinese goverment, you can flee to USA, but if you oppose US goverment, there is simply no country which is better in terms of freedom. Snowden used the "enemy of my enemy" kind of approach, and while he may genuinely believe in civil liberties, this won't do him any good. Stuck in Moscow airport? It's probably because russains in a process of chaffering over the price for his head with NSA.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a well-researched article, thank you.

To add a bit more flavor, the country has a slew of English-speaking shills, often Irish and quite sleazy, touting Ecuador as a retirement paradise for Americans. Then there's the internet spy software sold to Correa by Israel. And the unintentionally amusing concern of an Ecuadorian business group. “What would we gain from... confirming Ecuador’s international image as an anti-imperialist [sic] country? I don’t think we need that,” one says. No, not when you already have a reputation as a fourth-world shithole, full of starving peasants in colorful Nat'l Geographic clothes headed for Venezuelan-like persecution.

As for the 40pc+ of Ecuador's foreign trade is with the US, even Kerry/State can't screw this one up, you might think. But you'd be wrong. I'd say Snowden chose well.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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